Gun control rally at the State House

Feeling the need to show the flag a bit, and finding myself wearing a tie for once, I decided to drop by the State House and see what was up.

The first thing I saw was this gun control rally, sponsored — I’m just going by the T-shirts here — by Moms Demand Action – SC. Here’s their Facebook page. It was a modest-sized crown (click here to see), but passionate.

I listened for awhile, went inside to see what the House was doing (not much), then came back out. When I got back, Sen. Greg Gregory was speaking. He was (to my knowledge) the only Republican to speak. He and Marlon Kimpson are sponsoring a bill to close the “Charleston loophole.”

He was saying various things the crowd applauded — such as noting that if his father had seen a “hunter” show up with a 30-round magazine, he’d have laughed him off the field. Then he talked about how hard the issue was on his side of the aisle. He noted that too many Republicans feared that any concession on gun control would send us down the slippery slope to eliminating all guns.

At that point, one or two people started to cheer, and I thought, No, folks, that’s not an applause line. You’re not helping your cause there… But they seemed to think better of it right away; it wasn’t taken up. And maybe they just weren’t listening. It was a very encouraging, applauding kind of crowd, which I guess is what you get when you have “Moms” in your name.

The speeches kept coming. There was a preacher, a teacher, and a couple of high school students. Then, with exacting neutrality, the mistress of ceremonies introduced “two candidates for governor,” with the first being James Smith. You can hear most of his speech above — I started shooting the video about a minute in.

Then came Phil Noble, and he said the usual things Phil Noble says. I’ll say this for him, though — he was more self-restrained than usual. He carefully explained that the NRA was pure evil, and that evil had agents in the Legislature, and some of them were Democrats and some of them were Republicans. I didn’t hear all of it, but I’m pretty sure he held back from actually saying “James Smith.” But I wasn’t always looking right at him, so he could have been jerking his head in that direction.

One of the speakers used the occasion to encourage those present to elect more Democrats — which didn’t seem terribly polite to Sen. Gregory, but he’s probably used to it.

Joe Cranney of the Charleston paper reports that earlier, the group had been present at a hearing in which consideration of S. 516 — Gregory’s and Kimpson’s bill — was postponed….

Phil Noble speaks to the rally. That's James Smith with Mandy Powers Norrell to the right.

Phil Noble speaks to the rally. That’s James Smith with Mandy Powers Norrell to the right.




82 thoughts on “Gun control rally at the State House

  1. Doug Ross

    The first real test of Smith’s power to lead. Let’s see how far he is willing to go to get this done. This will be a good indicator of what a Smith governorship would look like.

  2. Burl Burlingame

    The NRA isn’t evil. That’s like blaming a snake for being poisonous. The real problem with the NRA is that they aren’t what they claim to be.

    1. Richard

      Speaking of the NRA, a longtime organization comprised mostly of conservatives. Whatever happened to the Black Lives Matter folks? Just another liberal flash in the pan mob scene?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Black Lives Matter? What does THAT have to do with this subject?

        But to be clear, there is nothing “conservative” about supporting the NRA. We have the most liberal gun laws in the world, and the NRA constantly pushes to make them more so. It’s hard to imagine a more destabilizing force…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          “We have the most liberal gun laws in the world, and the NRA constantly pushes to make them more so.”

          I’m not sure the second part is correct. The NRA more or less resists efforts to further constrain. Are you thinking of some specific proposal the NRA is advocating for to eliminate regulations?

          1. Mark Stewart

            Um… total “reciprocal” concealed carry for instance – whether states want it or not.

            And, in fact, every other thing they have pushed the last 30 years…

            1. Bryan Caskey

              Concealed carry reciprocity between states certainly seems like a state-to-state issue, since each state has different requirements for each permit. I’m not sure that’s a “loosening” of any requirement. I guess there’s probably a small group of folks who want a federal law granting reciprocity across the country, but I don’t think that’s a major issue. I think the states are fine to handle it as they see fit, for the very reason that each state has different requirements.

              For example, I think Georgia (unless they’ve changed the law) doesn’t require any training or really anything other than an application to get a concealed carry license. You can do it through the mail, and you get a card with your name on it (no picture) that is your license. Not exactly as rigorous as South Carolina, where we require a certain number of hours in a class, time at the range, and require proficiency in both by having objective test scores and marksmanship requirements. Accordingly, I’m not sure I’m in favor of giving folks from the Peach State reciprocity, just as I’m sure some real restrictive state doesn’t want reciprocity with South Carolina.

              And that’s cool. States…laboratories of democracy…federalism, and all that.

              1. Mark Stewart

                I guess you missed The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 – the one Paul Ryan and the GOP passed in the Congress and are trying to bull through the Senate?

                Lowest common denominator legislation – no state’s right to restrict. It would be amusing – if it were an amusing idea.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  No, I heard about it.Pretty sure it ain’t going anywhere in the Senate….which is fine with me. I’m a federalism kind of guy. Let the states experiment with different things. You know, let California be all granola, hippie and gun controlish, while Wyoming can be cowboys doing what the feel like and carrying guns around in case they come across a grizzly bear or some such varmint.

                  It’s all good. 🙂

            2. Bryan Caskey

              What other things? I mean, I’m in the NRA. I don’t believe there’s much else that folks are actively seeking. Maybe suppressors getting easier to obtain, but again, that’s sort of a tangential issue, no? Right now, suppressors are regulated under the GCA (like regular firearms) and the NFA (like machine guns) so you have to go through the FBI, ATF, and jump through a bunch of hoops to get one.

              I remember there being some noise (get it?) about eliminating the suppressors from the NFA requirement, but I don’t think it ever really happened.

              1. Mark Stewart

                Others might argue the NRA has been a destructive political entity since at least the early 1980s. That’s another way to view this…

                1. Barry

                  The. NRA opposed the Nevada background check bill. Voters approved it. The governor and legislature has tried everything in their power to avoid putting it into place.

                  I enjoy my guns. I enjoy having a CWP.

                  I wouldn never consider joining the NRA and don’t think much of those who do.

              2. bud

                Maybe I missed it but I haven’t heard if the NRA has weighed in on the teachers with guns in schools issue. Their silence would suggest tacit support for that idea.

                1. Richard

                  “The NRA would support likely arming 1st graders.”

                  Is that a fact… it sounds like something the anti-gun crowd would try to get people to believe.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            I didn’t word that well. I really don’t have any specific new measures in mind with regard to the NRA.

            It would have been more accurate for me to say the gun lobby constantly agitates to make them more liberal. You know, the folks who push for things like, “Let’s have guns in bars!” Not necessarily the NRA…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  He made it an us-against-them Culture War thing about them blamed “liberals.” Standard idiotic red-meat stuff.

                  Changing the subject… I know we can’t judge women on their looks (nor should we, he hastily adds!), but every photo I see of that guy is a PR disaster. There’s something very creepy about him. If you wanted to cast a villain who represented some monstrous, extreme ideology, you’d go for a mug like his.

                  He sort of reminds me of the Nazi in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” who burns his hand on the medallion.

                  OK, that’s my official superficial observation of the day…

            1. Doug Ross

              Well, isn’t that how it is supposed to work? The gun lobby educates the politicians who then make well informed decisions that best meet the needs of their constituents.

              And then they ride off on unicorns in search of leprechauns.

            2. Bryan Caskey

              You know, the folks who push for things like, “Let’s have guns in bars!”

              LOL. Yeah…my people. Let’s see, that became law….what…four years ago? Have we had a bunch of ol’ west shootouts like all the opponents of that law predicted? Nah. And it’s always characterized as guns “in bars” when it’s really guns “in restaurants”. But “restaurants” doesn’t sound as seedy or have the connotation of Wyatt Earp shooting it out with Johnny Ringo as “bars” does…so…it’s “guns in bars” because you got to make it sound pejorative. Meanwhile, no one ever notes that the law specifically prohibits the person carrying from having any alcohol. It’s a law for people who are going to eat something in a place that is also serving alcohol.

              But the facts and the details of the law aren’t funny like a stereotype of a cowboy carrying his ol’ six shooter into a saloon. So hey, truth, accuracy and detail get swept aside.

              Since that law went into effect, it’s been pretty quiet, because statistically, folks with a CWP are more law-abiding that those without. I know it’s all fun to stereotype CWP folks as Yosemite Sam, but mostly they are very, very law-abiding, rule-following folks.

              1. bud

                They could have put language in the bill specifically prohibiting bars. Guns and booze is a very bad combination. (Cars and booze also. That was recognized decades ago)

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Do we have pure bars in SC? All places that pour liquor have to serve food, right? I sort of figured the prohibition on drinking was the key, anyway. Carry wherever, just don’t misbehave.

                2. bud

                  Do we have pure bars in SC? Kinda. Plenty of places that make 80%+ of there revenue from booze. After this discussion I could use a little Group Therapy.

                3. Richard

                  “This search took about 1 minute”

                  And involved bars where shots were fired outside of their establishment.

                  How many of those involved in the shootings were CWP card carrying members? One thing that pops into my mind is that both of these examples are establishments that cater to black folks. No different than the establishments on North Broad River Road or on Two Notch Road where we have weekly shootings. You’d be more successful banning black people from these establishments than you would banning guns.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Is there some other Brad in the room? Where on Earth do you get that idea about me? Certainly not based on anything I’ve written…

                2. Richard

                  “Is there some other Brad in the room?”

                  So you don’t consider yourself anti-gun? I’d be interested in hearing about the arsenal you have in your home.

                3. Richard

                  “I just keep a close eye on the moron doing it.”

                  They’re keeping an eye on you as well.

                4. Barry

                  “They’re keeping an eye on you as well.“

                  Actually, the people I see open carrying around Gastonia, or Newton are usually not watching anyone, and usually look like targets more than deterrents.

                  Plus, I have a CWP. Watching me is a waste of their time.

  3. Richard

    Just read this online, don’t know who authored it:

    Pull up a stump and have a seat. This is going to piss some folks off and will take a while. Since the last school shooting I have seen this question more than I care to “Won’t you give up your gun to save just one life?” My answer to that is “No because it wont save a life. You’re lying to yourself if you believe that. In fact YOU are part of the problem.” Here’s why…

    The very basis of criminal thinking is anti-social behavior. Keep that in mind as you read on…

    When AR-15’s were first legalized there was a huge media hype and they were crazy expensive. Because of this the AR-15 frenzy died quickly. Fast forward to was a pivotal event. The casualties and the outcry associated with Columbine made America rethink gun safety, gun storage and gun bans. People wanted handguns outlawed. The media hype was outrageous. Gun owners listened and were more cautious with their guns. They were locked up. School shooters opportunities became less available.

    From what I could research between 1984 and 2012 an AR-15 was used twice in school shootings. After that it became rampant. Why? Two words…media hype. The media reported on why the AR-15 was the perfect weapon. It can be modified, has high capacity, low recoil, etc etc. This ramped up the public outcry to BAN THE BLACK RIFLE!

    Remember the coverage about the Columbine shooters? They were outcasts, misunderstood, misfits & bullied. Congratulations media!! You just found a way for most high school age kids to be able to relate to a school shooter. You made the killers the victims.

    Now lets revisit anti-social behavior. When something finally snaps in these people why do they choose an AR-15? Because the media has educated them on the capabilities and because the very loud anti-gun people have made the AR-15 the sexiest, the coolest, the most desirable weapon to accomplish this crime with. The AR-15 is being used because it is the most socially taboo weapon available and that in itself feeds the anti-social personality.

    So rather than throwing more fuel on the fire how about we come up with real solutions?

  4. Harry Harris

    The NRA is throwing their weight around in Georgia with the retaliatory move against Delta. It’s time for some serious boycotting of Georgia, from ballgames to conventions. The move by the Republican-led NRA tool legislature should be resisted in the most vociferous means. I don’t fly at all, but I will subsidize my relatives’ tickets if they choose Delta while this plays out.

    1. Barry

      Too many politicians, and people, are absolutely owned by the NRA. It’s pathetic but reality.

      The NRA does one primary thing: they want to sell as many guns as possible to as many people as possible because they are an effective arm of gun manufacturers.

      Delta will be fine in Georgia. In 20 years or so Georgia will be a solidly Blue state anyway.

      1. Harry Harris

        It’s an exemption for sales tax on jet fuel, and the excision of it is aimed directly at Delta according to its sponsor. The move is aimed at bullying Delta – using the state’s taxing law to bully by proxy for the NRA. Not hard to understand.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Why should Delta not pay sales tax on jet fuel?”

            … because of the critical role the Delta hub plays at the Atlanta airport, which I’m thinking is likely a key economic development asset for Georgia.

            Here’s another question: “Why should an NRA member pay less for a Delta ticket than I do?” I’m having trouble thinking of a socially redeeming reason for that, in contrast to my ability to imagine why Delta should get a tax break…

            1. Bryan Caskey

              Eh, if Delta wants the Georgia legislature to continue granting Delta the favor of not paying taxes, maybe Delta shouldn’t start picking on groups (who are popular in Georgia) for their political positions.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Try to think like someone who’s not a gun-rights advocate. I don’t mean think like a gun-control advocate, just someone who’s neutral.

                From that perspective, does it make sense for a responsible lawmaker to threaten one of his state’s biggest economic drivers over something that’s purely a red-meat, pander-to-the-base culture-war thing?

                Delta’s relationship with the NRA is neither here nor there in terms of the well-being of Georgia. The financial health of Delta is something real. These lawmakers are willing to damage something real over an ideological gesture.

                It’s just a very irresponsible thing to do.

                If the tax break is not in the economic best interest of Georgia, take it away. But to take it away to avenge an insult to an ideological sacred cow is outrageous…

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  I totally agree that Georgia shouldn’t risk losing the Delta hub over something like this.

                  If I were a GA legislator, I would probably tell my hypothetical angry NRA constituent that the Delta tax issue is something that has a lot of factors, and Delta brings lots of benefits to Georgia even if Delta is discriminating against his political beliefs. I would encourage my constituent to not fly Delta if he (or she) feels strongly about it, but the government of Georgia isn’t going to make a decision that could potentially have billion dollar consequences over an issue like this.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Excellent answer! I’d vote for you…

                    But for some reason, while I was reading that careful, thoughtful, measured response, I heard Tom Hanks saying:

                    Well, in that case… I’d say, “This is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover… I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life and the lives of my men – especially you, Reiben – to ease her suffering.”

                2. Mark Stewart

                  The Georgia legislatures ideological punishment of a corporation central to its geopolitical/economic position was another example of the foolish cutting off their nose to spite their face.

                  For one example, I’d say Georgia just took itself out of the running for Amazon’s 10-50,000 high paying office jobs (the HQ2” Project) for which they had by most accounts been a top contender. Oops. But worse, I think it likely puts to question the continued growth of the Port of Savannah. It’s just a jesture; but words have meaning and the Lt Governor’s proclaimed Georgia is still a redneck backwater.

                  Over a stupid call to turn a corporate decision into red meat for the masses…. just dumb.

              2. bud

                I applaud Delta. Zero reason to give the disgusting NRA any kind of benefit. I’m sure plenty of cities would be happy to give them a tax break.

          2. Harry Harris

            If some pandering politician in Georgia did the dame thing toward Delta FOR offering discounts to NRA riders, I would still strongly oppose the action. I think citizen actions are sort of OK, but not punitive legislative actions basically puppet-controlled by an interest group. This needs to be opposed and stopped. If LTGov wants to spur a citizen’s action against Delta, go right ahead. Other citizens would take action to counter it. The state government, no.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          All kinds of special interest groups and clubs get discounts based on group membership. I don’t see Delta rescinding discounts for members of the sierra club, so they are discriminating. If they want to pick and choose which groups get discounts based on a political criteria, I say they get judged the same way.

          1. Barry

            Hopefully they will get rid of all such discounts and perks. They are supposedly studying doing just that. Good for them.

            if NRA snowflakes cry that hard, dump them all.

            If that is the price to get rid of the the NRA link, I’ll gladly shuck out more $$ when I fly Delta.

              1. Barry

                Yep, even the nra members were not taking advantage of it

                Or didn’t know about it

                Or don’t fly anyway.

          2. Mark Stewart

            No, they are making a business decision. Any NRA member may fly Delta. Just leave the guns out of the cabin.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                The GOP should totally bring up a bill to repeal the 2nd Amendment. I’d just need a little bit of advance warning so I could get popcorn and watch the Democrats who vote against it get yelled at by their base.

              2. Richard

                Interesting I said that two days ago and linked it to an Atlanta Journal Constitution article… but Brad hasn’t bothered to approve it.

                Worst run blog ever…

                1. Claus2

                  Brad’s business sense… response to a complaint about slow customer service… fire everyone but himself.

                  What’s the point of keep some of us on moderation for days, people who have been on this blog for quite some time and who have likely dozens if not hundreds of posts? Spite?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Nope. I just often don’t look at the blog on weekends.

                    My readers have trained me that way. When I first started blogging, I posted quite a bit on weekends — but got almost no readership then.

                    I think it’s better now, but now I’m in the habit of slacking off then….

          3. bud

            Sure they’re discriminating. As is their right. It’s called freedom. If you don’t like it fly some other airline. As for me I’ll make a special effort to fly Delta in the future. Now if they would just give discounts for Planned Parenthood.

            1. Richard

              “Sure they’re discriminating. As is their right. It’s called freedom.”

              Except when it comes to bakeries not wanting to bake wedding cakes for gays and lesbians.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I don’t think that’s what he was saying, Barry. At least, not this time.

                  IF a baker refused to bake cakes for same-sex couples AND for those couples that included women, he’d go out of business pretty quickly…

            2. Claus2

              American Airlines has always been the better airline for me. But now that I rarely fly, mainly due to my hatred of the absolutely worthless TSA agency and no longer volunteering to be cattle-car’d around unless I can help it. If it’s less than a 12 hour trip and not an emergency I’ll drive.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Wow, that makes two people I know of who get worked up about the TSA. For a second there, I thought this was a comment from Doug.

                But yeah, I quit flying anywhere I could drive to in a day about a decade ago. If it’s, say, a 10-hour drive, I can generally rely on getting there quicker than trying to fly from South Carolina. The only places I’ve flown to in the last 10 years have been England and Thailand

                1. Doug Ross

                  I wish you had been in line with me at the Columbia Airport last night. I was number 10 in line after passing through the TSA id check. Took nearly 10 minutes for six! TSA agents to process the people in front of me while the queue grew to about 30 behind me. And you know who was about 5 people behind me in line? Mayor Benjamin… he looked about as frustrated as everyone else in line.

                  Columbia’s TSA is the worst I have experienced in the country. Pittsburgh processes about 10 times as many people in half the time with about 15 agents. But they still get far, far, far too many false positive readings in the scanner that result in intrusive patdowns. What good is a system when it is wrong 99.999% of the time?

                2. Doug Ross

                  But I know this is just my experience with inefficient government — the other 99% is working just great.

                3. Claus2

                  You know who talks favorably about TSA Agents? Other TSA agents. No one else. I bet more than half of them stick themselves pinning on their badge every morning.

                4. Barry

                  I flew through Charlotte last week. Had no issue with TSA. Passed through in about 10 minutes and I was in a line with at least 20-25 peopl.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I’m not going to argue about the TSA with Doug. He flies all the time; I do once every few years.

                    But I will say this: The MISSION of the TSA is to be a barrier, and therefore to inconvenience you. That’s the point. You have to inconvenience people, to some extent, in order to screen them. If the TSA were absolutely perfect, and inconvenienced you the least amount possible in doing its job, it would still be something of a pain.

                    I get mad at the other drivers who get in my way when I’m urgently trying to reach a destination on the road. They infuriate me. I call them all sorts of names. Their presence between me and my goal seems utterly unnecessary to me. Of course, they have the same rights I do to be there.

                    I’m far more likely to get mad at them than I am the TSA.

                    But I’m not going to argue with Doug about it. I’ll accept his premise that they, or some of them, aren’t doing a good job, and are inconveniencing him more than necessary….

            3. Doug Ross

              “Now if they would just give discounts for Planned Parenthood.”

              How many do you need?

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